Dirty Dozen: Yola Carter

Yola Carter is a new country-soul/americana singer songwriter from the UK, who  has written, produced and released her Debut EP “Orphan Offering” in November 2016 to much critical acclaim from NPR, Bluegrass Situation, The Guardian, The Times  and American Songwriter Magazine reaching #29 in their top 50 songs of 2016.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
I’m a singer-songwriter based out of Bristol UK. I’ve been playing this music for just over a year, Touring the UK Festivals and playing AmericanaFest in Nashville Tn this year. The live set is a mixture of songs from my EP and songs that will go on the  album that follows.

How would you describe your music?
These songs are a kind of black box recording of what’s been going on in my life personally, socially or politically. Sometimes I’m hopelessly sentimental in my writing, but other times I’m brutally direct. If it doesn’t hurt to say it I won’t write it. I sacrifice myself to the pain of a truth to deliver something with feeling you can’t deny. You have to be willing to be vulnerable to write the way I do and yet concede to find something uplifting.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
I love The Staple Singers. Mavis is the musical social consciousness of an era. I love The Band, the Everly Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris, but Dolly was the gateway drug. Through my mothers records I found stories of lives that triumphed through hardship and I hoped I could do the same coming from a broken home and a socially damaged town.

What are you currently promoting?
My Debut EP Orphan Offering is out Now. It’s the first time I’ve written solo, so it’s an exciting time.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I think I’d choose “Orphan Country” at the moment, just because it’s about little four year old me growing up, so that literally defines me.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to Emmylou Harris’s “Wrecking Ball” and Michael Kiwanuka’s “Love & Hate” record.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
It’s a fight between the eponymous CSN album and Gillian Welch’s “Time (The Revelatory)”, and The Staple Singers’ “Soul Folk In Action” can’t choose!

What are your hopes for your future career?
To write continuously. To release music as much as I can. To  play these songs to people, and for the barriers to me doing this in a prolific way to be no more. And to never find the thing I’m looking for.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
The one I’m doing now, as described above and maybe to work with the  producer by T Bone Burnett!

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Catharsis. When the big machine deals you another horror dipped in glitter you have an outlet that many don’t for your frustration. Emotionally and neurologically you have a chance to reset and look at that crap sandwich with fresh eyes. I’ve found loving reactions to the most troubling things. What complete joy!

And the worst?
The illusion that being in music or arty makes you more liberal and unprejudiced. That illusion protects some of the worst in humanity. Well…  That and when someone gives you three cans of cheap beer  as your rider for a six piece band, they might as well just spit in your eye!

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
It’s not been very long with this project and I’m utterly astounded with the support and love I’ve got from people, I harbour no sense of entitlement. This isn’t a hollow pandering to fans, but a heart felt thank you for allowing me to be this free, especially in this climate.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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